The frost arrived as silently as the dew on a crisp and cheery morning in December. I grabbed my camera and raced outside, struck by the simple beauty of sparkling crystals of ice on earth, grass and leaves.
Winter is a surprising season for photography. The sun is low in the sky, the light is soft, and the colours and textures subtly blended. But my eyes were drawn that day to a hidden world of star-like beauty and wonder.
Frost is dazzling in macro. A million little crystals of glittering frozen icicles on mosses and grass. I got out the extension tube to fix to my standard kit lens and zoom in closer, with elbows rested on knees for a make-do tripod. My shoestring macro method worked. Look, nature is magical even in a patch of scrub growing next to a concrete car park.
For me spending time in nature can help to bring a positive perspective. There are amazing things to be seen from the smallest to the largest objects in the universe. How do you compare the spectacular rings of icy water droplets swirling around a gas giant planet to the simple crystallisation of water on a frosted flower?
The sharp delicate flakes shone like stars. I can understand the frosty glow must be a lure to the light-receiving ocelli eyes of a bee as she peeks out of the hive and sees the ground glistening on a winter’s day.
I’ve heard it said that each sugar crystal of honey too is as unique as a snowflake.
Getting into macro photography lets me imagine the world through the eyes of the smallest creatures. How differently does life appear to a bug in all its wonderfully infinite and diverse combinations? In their tiny environments do they see nature more widely than we can?
I hope 2015 brings more time to notice the simplicity and beauty in the world around us.
Thanks! Though credit goes to nature for being so inspiring.
Really, really wonderful photos. I especially love the second to last one. A macro lens really is a doorway to a whole other perspective and realm of beauty.
It really does. I’m constantly astounded by the treasures of nature when I work in macro. A new perspective starting from the tiniest things in the world can only be a good thing.
Utterly beautiful. I know what you mean about photography, seeing with different eyes. Strangely enough, it helps me understand poetry! And nature…it is my reliable friend too.
Thank you 🙂 I hope the year ahead will be filled with more beauty inspired by our wonderful world.
What a thoughtful post. I like looking at rockeries or patches of grass and imagining them as adventure playgrounds for insects, full of things to clamber over and round. There’s a lot of beauty in the small things on Earth as well as the vast expanses of space.
The whole world is an adventure playground for creatures big and small 🙂
You have a wonderful feeling blog here Emma.. and loved your photo’s.. Nature is miraculous and I love watching how frost forms the icicles and patterns… Being out in Nature is the best healing we can have… And I look forward to reading more over the course of time…
Many thanks for making yourself known over at Dreamwalker’s… Wishing you a wonderful Week..
Thanks Sue, I’m happy to have found Dreamwalker’s too. I do hope nature miraculously heals us all and that the world can become a brighter place.
“The frost arrived as silently as the dew on a crisp and cheery morning in December.”
You have such a poetic way of expressing yourself. I’ve noticed it in your comments too. Great photos. I hope your fingers didn’t get too frosty from trying to hold the long lens steady.
Thanks, I find the quiet and stillness of early mornings, and winter, good for thoughtfulness. My fingers did get a bit frosty (not so easy fiddling with manual settings in gloves) but worth it.
Great photos! They make me detest ice (outside a lemonade glass) slightly less.
You like ice skating though? 😉 I love snow and ice (winter baby) but don’t worry spring days and homemade lemonade are on their way!
I’m sure the bees have a wide-angle close-up view of the world compared with our huge eyes. Love the pictures.
I’ve been contemplating getting a macro lens for nature and bee pictures. I have a Canon camera and was told that a 100mm macro is a good choice. Can kinds of lens did you use for these, if I may ask? Thanks for sharing.
Hi Erik, I use my camera’s EFS18-55mm lens and then attach an extension tube (EF25 II) as I can’t afford a proper macro lens at the moment. You can read more about it here – it has a magnifying effect on the lens and I got mine quite cheaply from Amazon: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-25mm-Extension-Tube-II-Review.aspx
It can be tricky to use due to manual nature of the photography and the narrow focus, but it does the job for now and I find it fun as it makes you really look closer at all the different aspects of your subject.
Yes, I’m sure those compound eyes see us much better than we see them!
Thanks! I have to look at extension tubes! Much more affordable, as you say.
Me too. Way too much ugliness around at the moment.
Yes, better to have more focus on the diverse beauty of everything around us, I feel.
Very nice pictures Emma. Without the photographer having an eye for detail nature couldn’t inspire you so do take some credit.The picture of the totally encrusted flower is amazing and what a draw that must be to a bee.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
A good eye is better than a good camera, eh? 😉 Thanks David! Yes the frost encrusted flower is popular, perhaps as it is so evocative – and it was so tiny I barely noticed it till I looked through the lens. My favourite is the third image of frost crystals that caught in a sudden bright glint of sunlight shone like diamonds. It reminded me of a Dr Who episode about a diamond planet! Hugest Hugs! 🙂
Simplicity is beauty and only in macro view can be we see that simplicity in all its delicate complexity. A world seen close is a new world altogether. Lovely images in that close look at the frost, I so enjoy what can be seen in the tiny sculptures. I bet you really love your macro explorations being so in tune with nature that you are. It is interesting to think beyond like you did in your post. So much in this world to see and how it relates. All things depend on one another. There is not one which is futile or insignificant.
Macro photography is extremely satisfying because you see so much that you didn’t see before. Though as a photographer yourself Donna, you know how much it makes you appreciate your environment. I went to a talk a few years ago at Zoological Society London called ‘The small things that rule the world’ all about how tiny endangered creatures from bees to molluscs run the world for us, without us even noticing. Your comment reminded me of it again! 🙂
Beautiful macro shots, ice is very difficult to catch the sparkle in a photograph. Things look so different at macro level. I took a photograph of a dull brownish caterpillar yesterday and it turned out to be more orange, had blue stripes and suede blue eyes when seen at macro level ! No idea what it is though! Going closer does make us see more. Amelia
Wow, a secret beauty! Yes, macro photography can take time and patience, though sometime you get lucky with a sudden burst of sunshine on ice or a surprise caterpillar! 🙂
Beautiful photos, they really show that the more you look the more you see.
Thank you. There is always lots to see even in winter.
I wanted to stop back to tell you that I watched the Queen’s Garden on PBS. It was so well done and a very delightful, special look at her gardens. I think every gardener should watch this special. The wildlife in the gardens was amazing and so was having the gardens pesticide and herbicide free. All that beauty from Mother Nature and of course her very capable staff. Loved the Mews for the horses too. I think I saw some of our grey squirrels in her gardens! Thank you very much for telling me when it would be on.
That’s lovely Donna – I’d love to read your blog about it from a gardener’s point-of-view. The grey squirrels in St James and Regent’s Park are very cheeky. At the weekend I spoke to two Ealing beekeepers who said they gave two of their hives when the apiary was set up at Buckingham Palace. Their honey tasted gorgeous – like orange and limes.
Amazing photography! I really need to get a macro lens and just read your suggestions on what lens and extension tube you used so might give that a go! So glad I found you 🙂
Fantastic! I’ll look out for your posts on venturing into macro world – you won’t regret it!
Lovely photos Em with such expressive descriptions. Certainly makes a person stop to ponder.
Thank you. Nature often makes me ponder.
Must have overlooked this! Glad I came across it. Lovely photos… And writing. RH
Thanks RH, I’m really pleased you liked it!
Lovely photography and wonderful poetic prose!! All of this is good for the soul.